I’ve been having terrible depression and anxiety over the past few days and I think I know why. I’ve become immersed in the world of streaming and while I don’t think it’s a mistake bc I enjoy it, I feel like I’m not safe enough either mentally or socially (support-wise). I like streaming because I get to chat with people while doing things I like. I don’t care much about followers or popularity because I think at least at the moment, building a channel is a nice project to distract me from things, I suppose. But what happens when your distraction needs a distraction?
The streaming communities I’m in right now are… complicated. I have made two friends who stream. Let’s call them Marco and Polo. Marco encouraged me to stream, and seemed really excited about it. I wanted to do it too. IRL friends have encouraged me to show my art too, so it was not just this one person, and I did not at all feel pressured to do it. Marco’s excitement and enthusiasm really inspired me, because it’s really nice to have that sort of energy when you’re used to a lot of negativity, put-downs, and not-feeling-good-enough or worthy enough.
So now I’m streaming, and I also hang out in Marco’s streams from time to time. I met Polo through Marco’s chat, and started chatting in his stream too. I meet this guy, let’s call him Jeff. He started off really nice, but started to say things that made me and Marco uncomfortable. Long story short, Jeff got banned in my and Marco’s respective channel chats. And I feel… kinda bad. I feel like Jeff doesn’t mean to be the way he is. He can make respectful conversation, but at the same time his jokes can be borderline sexist. I think it has to do with his background, and not gonna lie, his age too. I feel like maybe I should’ve talked to him about it first. Now I think it’s too late. Jeff pops up in other streams I frequent now, and it’s awkward. This has made me feel awful. I feel terrible because he is extremely likely to be in Polo’s streams, which I enjoy watching and chatting in. Marco told Polo about this situation and I think Polo won’t do anything about it, which is fair enough because Jeff is also in streams Polo frequents in. I feel terrible about it. It’s such a strange situation. I’m still so new to streaming and I feel like one wrong move and all my hard work will be gone. I know Marco will be supportive of me regardless and I am thankful of that, but I also value Polo but sometimes I think I need to detach myself from their side of streaming if Jeff is there. Which sucks. I don’t know what to do at this point.
These feelings have eventually evolved into awful depression and waking up with anxiety. I feel like I’ve deeply immersed myself in this online world because it gave me “highs”. The positive reinforcement, the support, the “friendships”. I’m not even sure if it’s real anymore. I just learned what parasocial relationships are through Marco earlier this year, and I’m so careful not to overstep any boundaries with ANYONE. But I can’t distinguish what’s being friendly and what’s being too in-your-face. I remain polite and respectful of course, but I fear that one day I might say something that might be taken the wrong way and ruin my relationships with these people. I value my… I guess friendships… with Marco and to an extent Polo (because I’m not really sure if he genuinely does see me as a friend. This is what I mean. There is such a blurry line when interacting with a streamer and becoming their friend). I guess I am comfortable with Marco because he has been kind and supportive. It just feels like my brain is overthinking things, but unlike any other situation I am in, it’s hard to find a truth/reasonable thought and cling on to that for sanity.
I am scared I will lose these friendships, real or not. I don’t want to bring this up with anyone I’ve met on the streaming platform. I am scared these friendships are just fictional, because maybe these people are just being nice because they’re being broadcasted to viewers. I am scared that I will be left in the dust when they are successful.
But it’s difficult. I enjoy when people come in and chat. The other day, I had new followers and they were interacting with each other and making jokes. They were lovely. It’s also so good to have Marco and Polo hop in and chat. It makes me feel liked. I think I enjoy streaming, but it’s the social-friendship aspect of it that’s tripping me up. It also hurts knowing that not a lot of my real life friends come to my stream.
I just think to myself, what have I done? Was this an entirely right decision? I feel like if I let go of these other things, streaming would 100% be fun. Or maybe just my mind isn’t thinking right. I don’t know. I’d like to grow a community the same way Marco has done, he can be inspiring in many ways. I’ve also just been physically exhausted because I’m recovering from COVID and I think the meds are still tiring me out. I just feel like I’m on 90% CPU usage right now.
Thank you always for reading and being here for me <3